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Record Participation Sets Stage for next NVM Express Plugfest

nvm-expressToday NVM Express, Inc. released the results of its fifth NVM Express (NVMe) Plugfest. The event was a distinct success, with the highest attendance to date.

NVM Express is quickly being adopted as a high performance interface standard for PCIe SSDs, and compatibility among different products is essential for greater market adoption,” said Frank Shu, VP of R&D, Verification Engineering & Compatibility Test at Silicon Motion Inc. “We are proud of having our products successfully pass through the NVMe Plugfest in ensuring compliance to the specification as well as interoperability with other NVMe products.”

The Plugfest, which took place February 29-March 3 at the University of New Hampshire’s InterOperability Lab (IOL) in Durham, New Hampshire, was an opportunity for NVM Express implementers to test the interoperability of their products. The program ensures conformance to the NVM Express specification and establishes confidence that products will work well across a broad range of systems.

NVM Express is the optimized, high-performance, scalable host controller interface with a streamlined register interface and command set designed for non-volatile memory based storage. NVM Express was developed as a standard to reduce latency and provide faster performance with support for security and end-to-end data protection. The first NVM Express products began shipping in 2014 and have demonstrated up to six times greater 4KB Random and Sequential Read/Write performance, and lower latency than SATA solid state drives. NVM Express specifications are owned by NVM Express, Inc.

The next NVM Express Plugfest, which is scheduled for the week of October 3, 2016, will include new testing protocols and other updates, reflecting what has been learned in prior events, as well as the needs of the growing NVM Express ecosystem.

There were 24 products registered for testing, with more than 70 engineers in attendance, from 20 companies: 16 companies with NVMe products and four from test companies. Two companies were waitlisted because the event was at capacity, and their products were tested separately after the event. Of the 24 products submitted, more than 20 devices successfully completed the rigorous testing. The Integrators List may be used to refer to these products (listing is at the discretion of a company and thus not every product may be specified).

Some devices at the event had implemented the latest revision of the NVMe specification, Version 1.2. Hot plug testing for datacenter environments using the U.2 (SFF-8639) form factor was included, which was effective in proving robustness of NVM Express systems. For client and datacenter environments, there was boot testing using systems with BIOSes that have a UEFI NVM Express driver integrated.

Conformance testing went very smoothly, with most tests on the conformance test stations finishing within 30 minutes. Interoperability testing took longer, and UNH-IOL is actively exploring ways to speed it up; however, though the current method of shutting down and rebooting servers takes time, it does uncover problems.

Participants stated an interest in diversifying the UNH-IOL host test bed, and UNH-IOL plans to address this in time for the next plugfest. Namespace Management and Dual Port are areas where further testing is being requested.

The most recent NVM Express Plugfest was our best attended to date, as interest from the NVM Express community has continued to grow. UNH-IOL appreciates the support from the NVM Express organization and its members, particularly those who participated in the fifth plugfest,” said David Woolf, Research and Development, Datacenter Technologies at UNH-IOL. “We are working to adjust the plugfest structure to accommodate the growing demand.”

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